There's a spot along the Slough arm I love to moor at if I'm passing this way. It's at what must have been an old wharf, on the non-towpath side, nestling among bramble bushes, ash and elder trees and the few remains of some crumbling building. Once moored up, the only way to the towpath is across a couple of acres of strangely churned up ground, all little hills and valleys and through a small wood to a bridge.
The last time I stopped by, it was all green and lovely. There's a river running along one side.
Now of course, it's winter and bare but other, bigger changes have come. The land has been raked over and all the tufty trees pulled up as though preparing it to be flattened and built on or something
Survivors are these strange spiky teasel-like plants.
What's exposed is something we caught glimpses of before - that the land was once a huge rubbish dump, from pre-plastic days. The place is stuffed with old glass bottles; some are milk, lemonade, beer bottles, others are old medecine, scent and poison bottles.
There is also masses of broken china, earthenware dishes, storage jugs and teapots. And my favourite - rusting metal pots, pans and kettles
Whatever's coming for this patch of land, it probably doesn't bode well for the wildlife.
I was lucky enough to see a lovely muntjac deer snuffling among branches, just near the boat. I also saw rabbits and heard foxes and owls at night. There are badger sets in the bankside and squirrels leaping about in the woods. I suppose the kind of rubbish dumped here many years ago, wasn't so much the kind that leached chemicals and plastics into the land and rivers?
I imagine animals already have a precarious existence between the nearby motorway and local industries which seem to include a quarry, rubbish tip and incinerator. Everywhere, our wild creatures are being squeezed out. Wish I could buy the land and just leave it alone but then I'd be wanting to do that everywhere.
After all the grey winter pics, thought I'd include a cheery, colourful one to remind me that spring is almost here! Thanks to a dear boaty friend for her gift of daffodils :-)